Centuries ago, mankind was slaughtered to near extinction by monstrous humanoid creatures called Titans, forcing humans to hide in fear behind enormous concentric walls. What makes these giants truly terrifying is that their taste for human flesh is not born out of hunger but what appears to be out of pleasure. To ensure their survival, the remnants of humanity began living within defensive barriers, resulting in one hundred years without a single titan encounter. However, that fragile calm is soon shattered when a colossal titan manages to breach the supposedly impregnable outer wall, reigniting the fight for survival against the man-eating abominations.
After witnessing a horrific personal loss at the hands of the invading creatures, Eren Yeager dedicates his life to their eradication by enlisting into the Survey Corps, an elite military unit that combats the merciless humanoids outside the protection of the walls. Based on Hajime Isayama’s award-winning manga, Shingeki no Kyojin follows Eren, along with his adopted sister Mikasa Ackerman and his childhood friend Armin Arlert, as they join the brutal war against the titans and race to discover a way of defeating them before the last walls are breached.
Attack on Titan Review
Let’s all face it, out of all the mainstream and “overrated” anime of all time, Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan) is definitely a force to be reckoned with. We’ve heard hundreds, or even millions, of anime fans talk about Bleach, Naruto, and One Piece, but this list won’t be complete if there isn’t an Attack on Titan along with those titles. Compared to the three most commonly talked about, Attack on Titan is definitely my favorite.
Directed by the indomitable Araki Tetsurou (Death Note, Kurozuka, Aoi Bungaku, High School of the Dead, Guilty Crown), this series will deliver more the just superb action and manliness; but also blood and despair. With this in mind, you would hardly deny that you’d not want to watch this series. Araki-sama has definitely made another monstrous anime that would live on through the ages.
100 years prior to the main story, humanity is on the binge of destruction due to giants called “Titans,” who are devouring humans at a really fast pace. During the Attack on Titan’s present timeline, they were at a time of peace. Humanity managed to survive by constructing an artificial country that’s protected by 3 strong gargantuan walls: (1) Wall Maria, (2) Wall Rose, and (3) Wall Sina. Wall Maria consists of normal citizens ready to be sacrificed if ever there was a Titan break-in. Wall Rose consists of the middle class citizens who are living comfortably behind the sacrificial lambs. Wall Sina consists of humanity’s last remaining cowards: the government officials and nobles.
Our protagonist, Eren Yeager, lives inside Wall Maria alongside his two best friends: Armin Arlert and Mikasa Ackerman. These 3 close friends dream of seeing the world outside the walls. Because of that dream, they decide to work hard and join the Survey Corps – a branch of the military that is most actively involved in direct combat with the Titans. They dream of clearing the Earth of Titans and be able to live freely outside the walls.
One day, as the three friends were talking about the possible scenario of humans living outside the wall, the ground starts to shake – a giant hand destroyed Wall Maria’s gate, giving way to smaller Titans to go inside and devour humans. Shocked and shaken by the unfortunate event, Eren and Mikasa ran back to their house, only to find it crushed by a huge boulder. Eren’s mother, Carla, was pinned under a rubble – unable to get out. At that moment, a Titan appeared, grabbing Carla by the waist. In a brief and despairing moment, the Titan slowly devours Carla. Eren and Mikasa were saved by Hannes, who was terrified to see a Titan face to face. Humanity was once again reminded of the terror Titans had caused a century ago.
The Beauty of Despair | Attack on Titan and Life
I love shows that gives emphasis on despair, it’s a plot device that emanates extreme emotional pressure and excitement. Attack on Titan does this perfectly and consistently throughout the series. Having witnessed the ruthless devouring of his mother, Eren’s despair was top-notch and definitely a fine example of superb directing. Capturing the hearts of the viewers by making the viewers’ step inside Eren’s shoes and making them feel what Eren felt. There are a lot of shows out there that try to incorporate the beauty of despair but, often times, fail in different angles of directing(*ahem* Asura Cryin’ *ahem*). Attack on Titan got me on that scene. I thought that it was the most beautiful scene I’ve seen in ages.
Despair was consistent and evident on each character drawn and animated. The normal citizens, the children, and the cowardly Stationary Guards (Garrison). No one had the guts and will to fight these strange creatures called Titans. You rarely see those in anime nowadays. In recent shows, you’d definitely see a character running into the enemy only to get beaten up and come back strong after getting hit a few times. The trope is getting boring. Attack on Titan broke that chain of half-assed, clichéd directing and took on the “I’ll eat yo’ mom’s brain in front of ya’ll and laugh” attitude – and that isn’t bad at all, in fact, it felt great!
Animation and Execution
“Thick Line” animation is extremely rare. It’s somehow called a treasure in various international sects of the subculture. A few examples that incorporate this kind of animation are: (1) Coppelion, (2) Hyakka Ryouran, and (3) Nichijou. Coppelion and Hyakka Ryouran had a lot of action but failed to use the animation style to its fullest extent. Nichijou, well, is just Nichijou – we will probably cover this awesome slice-of-life series soon.
Attack on Titan used thick line animation to its fullest extent. I used to believe that this style of animation would best fit a dark, brutal, and compelling story with a touch of horror and mystery. I was definitely right, Attack on Titan hit the mark. By using this kind of style, the facial expressions gives truth and bearing to the feeling being expressed – the feeling becomes real and spiritually tangible.
The Titan fight scenes are superb. With the mixture of their Three Dimensional Maneuver Gear (Omni-Directional Mobility Gear) and Wit Studio’s superb animation skills, we have been given a chance to see a unique fighting style that involves flying, maneuvering, and slashing – paired with Araki-sama’s bloody directing, everything is top-notch.
Attack on Titan isn’t for everyone, especially kids. It contains massive amounts of gore and despair that would leave an unprepared viewer traumatized for life. Otherwise, it is really enjoyable. If you are prepared to watch a revolutionary work of art, go ahead and tread the path of blood and despair – you will definitely like it in here. Also, if you are a fan of Araki-sama’s work, you’ll really be impressed with Attack on Titan.
I would recommend Attack on Titan to those who seek to watch the better shows out there. We’ve been flooded and bombarded with a ton of moeblob shows that have no real and engaging plot devices. Attack on Titan offers almost everything an anime lover would need: (1) Gore, (2) hot female lead [damn it Mikasa], (3) fantastic and engaging animation, (4) superb character development, (5) great story, and (6) uniqueness. Attack on Titan is definitely something you’ve never seen before. What are you waiting for? Watch it now!